The World Health Organization is responsible for public health initiatives around the globe. They work with national and local governments to make sure that healthcare is being offered at the highest level possible even in the most remote and economically disadvantaged areas. Of course, this task is an incredible challenge.
Without being able to transform the economies of these locations, health care can be a battle for resources. The most urgent conditions tend to receive care first. Malnutrition, deadly communicable diseases, and epidemic infections tend to be high on the list of health problems that deserve resources and attention. The World Health Organization devotes its awareness-raising campaigns to these particular issues, and they work with governments to get policies in place that will improve the lives of their people.
With such urgent and life-threatening conditions deserving of attention, it may come as a surprise that the World Health Organization has devoted its resources to a new annual day of awareness: World Hearing Day on March 3rd.
World Hearing Day was instituted to encourage people to consider preventative measures that can keep them from experiencing hearing loss, as well as to consider treatment for hearing loss they have already incurred. Among the groups the World Health Organization targets for their campaign are children. A devastating 34 million children around the world currently have disabling hearing loss, and World Hearing Day is an opportunity to try to lower that number, particularly through preventing conditions that affect children at birth.
Many of the conditions that afflict children can have an effect on their hearing, but many families and healthcare professionals do not realize it to be the case. For instance, children who have serious diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella can also have hearing loss from those conditions. Beyond the illnesses children encounter, the process of childbirth can also cause hearing loss, including a loss of oxygen due to a difficult delivery. Ototoxic chemicals are drugs that have an effect on hearing loss, and exposure to children or mothers can have devastating effects on hearing ability. Each of these conditions warrants public health awareness, resources, and policy to help children live their lives with full hearing ability.
Not only does World Hearing Day encourage awareness of childhood hearing loss, they also worry about the dangerous behaviors of young adults. Recreational noise is a growing threat to hearing ability. Whether listening to loud music at a concert or dance club or playing very loud sound through earbuds or headphones, leisure sound has a profound effect on the ears. Many listeners don’t even realize how loud recreational sound can become, particularly while wearing earbuds or headphones on noisy transportation.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to recreational sound, and World Hearing Day is an opportunity to get the word out about these potentially detrimental effects. Although it may be difficult to change the behavior of an entire generation, the World Health Organization hopes that it’s not too late to stem the tide of hearing loss with a seemingly unnecessary cause.
With these major concerns on the table, you might be asking yourself what you can do to participate in World Hearing Day. Wearing hearing protection is a great way to celebrate, and taking hearing breaks from loud sound helps, as well. Yet, possibly the easiest and most important thing you can do to take part in the celebration is to get your own hearing tested.
If you suspect that you have a hearing loss, getting a test is a great way to learn more about your hearing abilities. However, even those who don’t believe themselves to have hearing loss can benefit from a test. Setting the baseline hearing level is an important first step, and you might find out that you have hearing loss that is undiscovered. You might be filling in the gaps in your hearing with guesswork, so don’t think that you are exempt from a hearing test just because you don’t experience the inability to hear. Once you schedule your exam, you can be glad to have taken part in a larger movement to change the hearing health environment around the world!
To schedule a hearing test and consultation, contact us at Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast. Our team looks forward to hearing from you